Meet the Guy who has Done Almost Five Years Worth of Canoe Trips Over 50 Years

Friday, 03 August 2012
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Jonathan Berger on a canoe trip on a tributary of the Hayes River in northern Manitoba.

You read that headline right. Jonathan Berger from Philadelphia has been going on canoe trips all over northern Canada for over 50 years and during that time he has spent more then 1825 nights out camping. That’s a serious number of days! Here I was all proud of my upcoming two-night family camping trip to the local Provincial Park.

The Winnipeg Free Press recently did an article on the amazing accomplishments of this surprisingly risk-averse guy. You can read the full story here.

Surely, in all that time canoeing uncharted rivers with rapids, cataracts and waterfalls, thousands of kilometres from civilization, he has encountered some mishaps and adventures and learned some difficult lessons.

Well, the last time he had a canoe tip was 1971. He has never had to be evacuated. He has had just two bears in his camp in all that time, and they ran away when he and fellow travellers banged pots and pans.

"I don't know what to tell you," Berger said on a recent stopover in Winnipeg. "I just don't take chances." That's probably the boring secret to how you keep paddling for months at a time every summer for 50 years.

I loved the quote right at the end of the article when asked how he can find the time to so many canoe trips:

"It depends what you want to do. You make sacrifices," he said about dedicating so much time to canoe-trekking. That includes sacrifices both monetary and in terms of professional advancement, he said.

Update: In my research, I discovered that Jonathan is also the co-author of the coffee-table book, Canoe Atlas of the Little North which highlights the best canoe routes of Northern Ontario and Winnipeg.

Photo credit: Jonathan Berger

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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